Category Archives: Camp Benedict

Morning Meanderings… Coffee Monday and Why Orlando Hurts My Heart

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Good morning and happy Monday.  Or… well, it is Monday.

I lost a week of chatting it up here as I was at Camp Benedict.  I thought I would have time in the early mornings to post a little something, or write a review in the afternoons.  HA.  Think again.  My mornings at camp were absorbed with conversations with the early to rise crowd.  I myself was usually in the main lodge by 5:30 am.  My afternoons were filled with more conversations, prep for the evening, a few “camp-fires” as I like to call them to put out.

And you know what?

It was all really wonderful.

In case you do not know my Camp Benedict story you can read it here.  Camp Benedict is a camp for those infected and affected by AIDS.  It is for families who deal with AIDS, it is for children through adults who may be infected – or may be affected as they have a loved one who fights this battle daily.  It is, something I knew little about when I became involved in 2009 with the camp – and it something now that is dear to my heart.

In late 2011, my son Justin came out to me.  I remember the day, it was November 2nd and we were on the phone.  I did not know prior to this conversation.  I can tell you, that while it came as a surprise, it did not change the way I felt about my son.  I loved and love him with all my heart and NOTHING would ever stand in the way of that.  In fact, if anything, it brought us closer.  he knew he could talk to me about anything, and it was in the following years as he finished up College that we started our annual trip to Florida to go to Harry Potter world (always including the date of November 2nd in those trips – which is a little known fact but one we thought was meaningful).  We ran together in mud runs, and color runs, we went to movies whenever possible…. we talked on the phone weekly, he was and is a big part of my heart and often… perhaps the biggest part.

I share this now because at Camp Benedict I have a chance to talk with many people one on one.  Often I hear the story of when they came out to their family and they talk of how family members, a parent maybe, a sibling, has pushed them away.  That hurts my heart so much.  If I would have told Justin that day, that was fine for him, but I would not be a part of his life – look what I would have missed!  Look at my life now – not knowing then that I had less than 4 more years with him.  What a waste that would have been and my heart hurts for those who have been pushed away by loved ones.  As Hermione would say….. “Riddikulus!”

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We embraced our time together and I would not trade one second of it.

This past weekend, the shootings in Orlando made me think of those who lost their lives and their families.  I pray that the families of the victims had wonderful relationships and memories.  I pray that it was not tainted with prejudices and misunderstandings.

We never know how much time we have on this earth.  Life may be long – but it may also be short.  I live with that every day.  However, I also live with the fact that I loved (and love) my son unconditionally and I did not waste one minute on making him feel bad for his choices.  For this, I know I am blessed.  I had an amazing relationship with my son and if by sharing this today can help even one person, then I have accomplished what I set out to do.

We lift our coffee cups today to those who lost their lives this weekend in Orlando due to what?  Hate?  Intolerance?  A feeling of superiority?  What horrible words.  PLEASE no matter what broken relationship you have in your own life, reach out.  Even if it is not reciprocated, at least you made the effort.  You never know down the road what a difference that can make.

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If you would like to donate to Camp Benedict you can do so here.

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